Wat Dhammakaya under siege by police and DSI officials

About 2,000 officials of the Department of Special Investigation and police are laying siege to Wat Dhammakaya before dawn on Thursday, barring unauthorized outsiders from entering the temple ground and insiders from getting out.

The siege followed an executive order issued late Wednesday night by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, invoking his special powers vested upon him by Section 44 of the interim constitution. By virtue of the order, the temple is now a restricted zone and placed under government’s control.

All the main gates to the temple remain closed while officials and police are positioned outside the temple to block cars and temple’s followers from entering the temple ground to provide alms to monks who were made to receive alms outside the temple.

DSI officials and police have not raided the temple yet in their bid to look for Phra Dhammachayo, the former abbot of the temple, who is facing several charges, including embezzlement, money laundering and forest encroachment.

Shortly before 8 am this morning, DSI deputy director-general Pol Maj Suriya Singhakamol was allowed into the temple for talks with Phra Sanitwong Wutthiwangso, director of Communications Organization of the temple.